Buy new car or rebuild transmission 2000 Acura TL?

Acura dealership is saying we need either new $5,400 transmission or a rebuild from a reliable guy dealer that they recommend- he is charging no more than $3,200. Both would warranty at 36,000 miles or 3 years. Husband leaning toward rebuild at $3,200. I of course, want a new Prius or a Leaf. BTW this car is used for intown commuting only. Please advise!

$3200 vs $24,000? That has to be your call based on your finances and financial goals. If throwing thousands of dollars around isn’t a big deal for you, and you want a Prius, then get one.

Does $3,200 seem reasonable?

Somewhere between 2500 and 4000 seems to be the usual price, so you’re right in the middle of that.

However I would be more inclined to go with a replacement transmission, as the transmission for your car was redesigned in 2005 to correct fatal flaws in the original transmission. Replacement transmissions installed in 2nd gen TL’s after 2005 are of a better design and less likely to break. Rebuilding your current transmission to original specs just means you’re stuck wondering if the thing is going to destroy itself again - that original transmission was the subject of a class action lawsuit, it was so unreliable.

You can probably find a remanufactured new-design transmission for cheaper than a brand new one from the dealership, however.

Great information - thank you!

it is what I would expect when dealing with the dealer. At times you can find an independent mechanic who can find you a good used transmission, much cheaper. Look at Mechanics files somewhere on this URL for good mechanics in your local area.

Conventional wisdom on this board is that when an older car like that loses motor or transmission it is time to junk it out. The problem is rust and other hidden wear makes it unlikely you will get the miles out of it you need to pay for it. But, it is a personal decision.

My 2002 Sienna has over 200,000 miles on it. If motor or transmission fail, I will probably fix it. My problem is, I drive into Mexico, passing through what I call the Zeta Zone, and the last thing I want is to be driving a real late model vehicle. And, my car has almost no rust, being mostly driven on long trips outside the snow zone.

I’m not sure that’s the conventional wisdom here, @irlandes. A Prius starts at $24,000 and goes up from there if you add options (options, btw, that the Acura likely already has). I’d personally find it pretty tough to justify spending more than 20 thousand dollars to fix a problem rather than spending $3200 to fix the actual problem just because a transmission died, especially in that car. The transmission was pretty much the only weak point in that car - everything else should last a very long time, so it doesn’t make much sense from a purely economic standpoint to junk the car.

If the car is I otherwise excellent condition, you could consider replacement. But it is 14 years old. Other systems will fail in the next few years and you will likely spend a few thousand fixing them. You can’t see the future clearly, but all cars cost more to repair as they age. If you want an additional 2 to 4 years out of the car, then $3200 for the transmission might be worth it. Otherwise, you might want to trade it in or sell it.

For me my basic rationale is at 24k for a car, that is 364 a month at 3% interest. so at 10 months or so you are at the break even point, then after that any additional repairs would need to be figured in. Spend 65 bucks, get an analysis done, looking at brakes, tires, suspension etc. to see if there is any trouble looming, to justify dumping the car or trying to save a few years of car payments.

I dunno, I think I would move on. Granted a new car costs more, but its 14 years old and are you never going to get a new car? You can’t keep it forever and 0 or 1% interest with the market returning 25-30% seems to favor financing it. So you spend $5K on a transmission and drive it 5 years, then what. The car has zero value then and you still have to buy a new car after 19 years. I’m not a big Prius fan though but that’s just me.